A24 are the studio behind some of the best and most indie films to come out in recent years: Minari, The Lighthouse, Hereditary, Moonlight, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster, The Witch, Room, Locke, Ex Machina and Under the Skin, to name just a few. Among the titles mentioned above, and the many others not mentioned, one can find quite a lot of horror and sci-fi films, some psychological thrillers, but also some very humane dramas – including one that won the Oscar for Best Picture a few years ago. And while most of their projects feature lesser known names at the helm, some do feature big names. Today I wanted to talk about two – Darren Aronofsky’s new film, and Alex Garland’s new film.
Darren Aronofsky – The Whale
This will be Darren Aronofsky’s first directorial work since the excellent Mother! back in 2017. This time, it will not be an original project, but an adapted one, from Samuel D. Hunter’s critically-acclaimed play from 2012, baring the same name. The playwright will adapt his own play to screenplay form, and Aronofsky will direct, while the main role will be played by Brendan Fraser. The synopsis talks about the “story of a reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption”.
To be fair, A24 seems like such a more natural choice for an Aronofsky indie project rather than Paramount, which was the studio behind Mother!. Although this project seems to be some way away from seeing the light of day, I am very curious how everything will pan out, and whether it will have a wider appeal compared to the most recent couple of Darren’s projects.
Alex Garland – Men
As I mentioned above, Ex Machina was an A24 project, one which ended up not only being a thoughtful musing on the nature of AI, but also put Alex Garland on the radar of many film lovers of fine taste. He followed up with the adaptation of Annihilation, what I thought was an excellent project that didn’t quite get the recognition it deserved since it was too intellectually stimulating for the general audience. And while, just as Aronofsky’s previous project, it was Paramount, this is Garland’s time to shine once again within A24.
Men, as it is at least provisionally titled, is understood to have some sci-fi elements which have since become Garland trademarks, and the plot may revolve around “a young woman who goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband”. While no final casting choices have been announced as of yet, it is understood that Jessie Buckley is is pole position for the main role. Considering her excellent performance in Fargo Season 4, and in Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things, this looks like a very interesting project indeed.